Local engineer helping students in underserved communities with STEM

Meet the winner of ABC 10News' Leadership for March 2024!
Debra Roy
Posted at 11:29 AM, Mar 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-11 14:29:00-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — It was the first time student Jamal Reynolds grew a pea plant on his own.

"It made me proud! I have never had my own personal plant that I know I made," said Reynolds.

He isn’t the only one who is proud.

"We are dedicated to the students here, for our future generations," said Debra Roy.

Roy is the President of the Board of Directors at the Elementary Institute of Science. The nonprofit organization provides free STEM classes for kindergarten through 12th-grade students in southeast San Diego.

"Having them exposed to others they can relate with, that look like them, really makes a difference," said Roy.

Roy knows a thing or two about the program. She is an engineer and her own children attended the classes. Growing up, she wanted to be an interior decorator.

"But a physics teacher brought the subject to life for me," said Roy.

Roy lives her life to the fullest: She is a certified personal trainer and a fashion designer.

The Elementary Institute of Science has been around for 60 years. Roy’s efforts are making a difference — just like her science teacher did for her in the 11th grade.

"She saw something in me that I did not see in myself. It makes a difference for me, to be able share with someone else who looks like me," said Roy.

Because of her commitment to students in our community, Debra Roy is our Leadership Award winner for March!

Congratulations Debra!